Thursday, January 31, 2008
"For many Americans, John McCain is the closest thing our politics has to a national hero, a presidential candidate widely admired in 2000 and an independent leader of great force in the years after. His personal story is a dramatic one, told beautifully by Robert Timberg in The Nightingale's Song and by McCain himself in the 1999 bestseller Faith of My Fathers."
"McCain is the son and grandson of Navy admirals, a decorated Navy pilot himself. He volunteered for service in Vietnam and in July, 1967, was injured in a flight deck explosion on the carrier Forrestal. He could have returned home, but refused, and in October, 1967, was shot down over [North] Vietnam. He spent five-and-a-half years, most of it in pain and torture, in Communist prisoner of war camps. He refused to be let out ahead of those who had been in longer when he was offered release because of his father's rank."
"McCain returned to the United States in March, 1973. His final assignment in the Navy was as Senate liason. In 1980, he retired and moved to Arizona, his wife's home state. In 1982, he ran for an open House seat. Attacked as an "outsider," he responded, 'The longest place I ever lived was in Hanoi.' He led 32% to 26% in a four-way primary, and won the 1982 and 1984 general elections and then the 1986 Senate contest easily."
If John McCain runs as that man, which should be fairly easy, because he IS that man, he has a good chance to win. He's a hero, and Hillary Clinton (like Barack Obama) is not. McCain must continue to run as an exceptional human being, someone whose life is a model for all Americans.
McCain will not win merely on his "positions." Instead, he will win on personality and character. To the end, surrogates -- like Rudy Giuliani and Arnold Schwarenegger, as well as the two Georgia Senators (Saxby Chambliss and Jonny Isakson) -- can play important roles in citing McCain's key qualities.
In short, the best approach is for John McCain is to run as himself. For someone like Hillary Clinton, the best strategy might be to run as someone else. The American people vote largely on likability, courage, and integrity, three areas where she's lacking.
I hope everyone who visits this blog will visit the following site for McCain volunteers:http://mccain08olc.blogspot.com/
Here's the note McCain operative (par excellence) Brad Marston sent me today:
I look forward to working with you as well. I would hope as a first step you will join the MV08 Bloggers. I have cc'd Michael Schuyler, our National Chair for Blog Out-Reach on this e-mail and I am sure he will get in touch with you.
I would also invite you to join MV08 as a National Co-Chair. Your political insight, tireless efforts on behalf of candidates, recognition of the imprtance of the internet in today's political campaigns and finally, yes, your contacts will prove invaluable.
McCain does put a huge emphasis on involving veterans in his campaign. In fact one of our National Co-Chairs, Sheridan Folger is on the NH Veterans Council with the campaign.
Note: I'm honored to join as a National C0-Chair of MV08. I hope all those of you who back Sarah Palin for V-P will get on the McCain Team. He's the one who will make the choice of a running-mate, and we need to "help" him choose Sarah.
Greg and Sharon say it well. The following short comments were made today by two members of the Rudy Giuliani group on Yahoo:
Never want to be at a watch party again where someone talking about a Governor's race that was just lost 2-1 says that it is OK because we stood on principles (?) and that is more important than winning." (Sharon Callien, head of Rudy Group)
"As bad as it sounds, politics is about winning, and about having the opportunity to move your ball further down the field. If one's "principles" are rejected by 66% of the voters, maybe that person shouldn't have trotted out those principles in the arena of politics. I'm all in favor of people staying true to their convictions, but if their convictions mean landslide losses at the polls, maybe they shouldn't leave their day job." (Greg Alterton, Rudy Group)
Greg added: "The Unappeasables, those who would condemn Ronald Reagan were he alive today because he wouldn't be "conservative" enough for them, don't amount to much of anything in the GOP. If they want to vote for the nominee, great. If they want to take a walk, that's fine too. Either way, they won't impact the results of the election much."
Note: Both these strong Rudy supporters are now backing Senator John McCain. They will be assets to his campaign.
As I predicted, the Clintons have used the race card in very subtle ways, trying to pigeonhole Obama as someone only Black voters will support, thereby suggesting that White folks should vote for Mrs. Clinton. That is a despicable act, especially as performed by the usually jovial "first Black President,' Bill Clinton. Barack, 24 hours per day: watch thy back.
One of the intriguing elements of the Dem campaign is that, if Hillary wins (as expected), she will be under great pressure to name Barack as V-P nominee. She'd rather have four root canals than do so.
It's important to recognize that with Democrats elective office is their job-for-life (check out people like Robert Byrd, Ted Kennedy, John Murtha, and Charlie Rangel). They are not going to "return to the private sector." where they've never been anyway. They will remain in Congress until they're carried out feet first.
Mrs. Clinton is now talking about her "35 years of experience." Thirty-five years? Did we miss something? She's been a Senator for seven-plus years, and she never have elective office before -- although she did function as "someone's wife." Hillary seems to be tracing her so-called "experience" back to early days at Wellesley College.
Later today (Thursday), I'll be posting some important information about John McCain and the best strategy for him as he goes into the general election. Please return and, if you'd like, leave your comments.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
"His detractors called him 'The Breck Girl.'" (From MSNBC)
Note: An addition to this column, about Sarah Palin, is at the end.
When John Edwards was on "The Letterman Show" recently, the host messed up his hair. Edwards flashed his usual "Crest Toothpaste" smile, but he was obviously not pleased by Letterman's actions.
Because of his $400 coif in California, Edwards, the "poverty candidate," will forevermore be known as The Haircut Man. How many poor people would $400 have fed? How many doctors' visits would it have paid for? Obviously, Edwards is not a man with a strong sense of irony.
Edwards was a very successful trial lawyer. In that role, he apparently took his full cut of the settlement money, approximately 40% (plus expenses). His personal fortune is estimated at a comfortable $20 million.
Last summer, after Edwards found out that his wife Elizabeth had terminal breast cancer, he announced that he would continue the campaign. He made the announcement at his new home in beautiful Chapel Hill, NC. The home is reportedly 28,000 square feet, big enough to contain a standard-sized basketball court.
Nearly a century ago the sociologist Thorsten Veblen talked about the "sheer vulgar fatness of great wealth." Thorsten Veblen, meet John and Elizabeth Edwards. A 28,000 square foot home is big enough to house most of the very poor people in a small city.
Edwards' explanation for the hair cut and the house is that his father was a "mill worker." Actually, for the time and place his dad had a decent job. Presumably, he had no aspirations to build a Vanderbilt-sized mansion. How many poor people would have benefited from the $5 million-plus he spent on the house?
The best way to give immediate assistance to the poor is not to run for President and make the case for a vast redistribution of wealth. Some like Bill Gates has done more to benefit people of low and modest incomes than John Edwards could do if he were elected President-for-life.
Nathaniel Hawthorne once said, "No one can plumb the mysteries of a human heart." That said, my own belief is that Edwards used his wife's illness for political purposes. Apparently, he gained more than his share of sympathy votes. He should be ashamed, and so should his wife.
The "game" they played is one highlighted in the book Games People Play. It's called the wooden-leg ploy. In it, people use a disability or illness to elicit more sympathy than they deserve.
Do I believe John Edwards truly cares about poor people? I don't. If he did, he'd spend less money on himself and more on them. Perhaps he might have started a business that would employ hundreds -- or thousands -- of poor people. If he truly wanted to assist the poor, he might have stuffed every Salvation Army kettle in North Carolina.
Yes, I'm angry at John and Elizabeth Edwards, because they reek of insincerity and demagoguery. They are not as stupid as they sound. They must be aware that the greatest poverty reduction force in history is the private enterprise economy in the U.S.
Don't look for John Edwards and wife to spend the rest of their days among poor people -- in a soup kitchen, for example. When you experience a setback, it's always nice to be able to return to a 28,000 square foot house. And don't look for him to start going to the neighborhood barber shop.
Lest there be any doubt, I'm sorry Elizabeth has cancer. I'm also sorry she has to spend the rest of her days with him.
Here's an e-mail I just sent to some fellow strategists in the Draft Sarah Palin Movement:
For Sarah Palin to endorse Huckabee for President would be a major mistake. I wrote about matters vice-presidential last night and Huck would be the wrong choice for John McCain. He would also be the wrong choice for Sarah to endorse. However, if there's ever to be a remake of "Mayberry, RFD," I'd recommend Mike for a leading role.
McCain and Palin would both have very strong support from veterans and their families, groups that have never been targeted nearly as effectively as they could be. There are 26 million veterans in the U.S Sarah is not from a military family, but with Track in the infantry she is now a powerful link to military families.
I wish McCain would do some "maverick" things in naming a vice-president. Specifically, I hope he will say that this person shows many signs of not only being a great V-P but also an outstanding President. He must not accept in any sense that she is a "rookie." She is a national power and a remarkable elected official.
We all know the political "games people play," but I sure hope McCain stops playing them. His major strength is authenticity and straight talk -- one of the reasons he appeals to Independents and Democrats.
By the way, if McCain doesn't name Sarah or Mike, he might go with Charlie Crist, who is one helluva campaigner. McCain will not follow Rudy's suggest to "campaign in all 50 states." But I certainly hope he will compete in 40-42. The pure red state fixation is a razor's edge approach. McCain will be the nominee. The choice probably will be between Clinton and McCain.
Here's a piece of the article from the Fairbanks News-Miner on Gov. Palin's current thinking:
"Palin not quite ready to back candidate"
January 30, 2008
Gov. Sarah Palin said Tuesday she wasn’t ready to back any candidate for president but had narrowed it down to two — fellow Republicans Sen. John McCain of Arizona and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
Palin said she was trying to find time off the state clock to study where the two candidates stood on national security, resource development, and a natural gas pipeline, and had calls in to both campaigns.
“I would ideally love to speak with them personally on their positions on resources and national security,” she said....
Palin laughed at the idea that her endorsement mattered at the national level.
A friend of mine and I were discussing various vice-presidential options for Senator John McCain. We mentioned two possibilities: Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and Gov. Charlie Crist of Florida. Here's what I said in regard to Sarah Heath Palin of Alaska:
I'm going to write more about this subject on my blog. McCain must position the Party for the future, and another Midwestern white guy is not the ticket at this point in history. As Rudy Giuliani said in his endorsement of McCain, we must reach out to all groups -- including women professionals -- to win national elections. Sarah Palin is the perfect VP candidate: wife, mother, and parent of a U.S. soldier, dynamic communicator, conservative, pro-life, and a permanent member of the NRA.
One reason McCain won FL was the endorsement of Mel Martinez and three Cuban-American congressional reps (all of them up there with him last night). McCain needs to get 40% (a stretch maybe) of the Hispanic vote in the general. Sarah Palin will play very well in the Hispanic communities, especially with women.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Congratulations to Senator John McCain for his huge victory tonight in Florida, one of my favorite states. A salute also to another fine candidate, Rudy Giuliani, who will always be "America's Mayor." It's not a well-kept secret that tomorrow in California Mayor Giuliani will endorse the campaign of his friend, a great American patriot named John McCain.
This is a good night for America.
I've written recently about my problems with the candidacies of Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Hussein Obama, neither of whom would be a good choice for an office like the presidency. I hope you'll read what I wrote -- and comment if you'd like.
I'm hearing tonight that John McCain in his victory speech did everything but offer the vice-presidential slot to Gov. Mike Huckabee. I believe McCain should choose someone else, specifically, Gov. Sarah Heath Palin of Alaska. She brings everything to the table that Huckabee does -- but without his baggage. Huckabee has established himself as "Pastor Mike," somebody who'd be very much at home in "Mayberry, RFD." The states he would "help" in are mainly ones where McCain doesn't need help. Sarah would bring the values voters with her. Would love to hear your comments!
I'd like everyone to visit Cindy's blog and read her outstanding tribute to our President, George W. Bush. Here's the link: http://thepinkflamingo.blogharbor.com/blog/_archives/2008/1/29/3494764.html
Tomorrow (Wednesday), I'll put up some excerpts from the tribute. Right now, the world little notes the greatness of the man, but I'm sure it will long remember. Greatness? He kept us safe for six years. Enough said.
The Democrats are NOT committed to taking the necessary steps to: safeguard the nation from terrorists, reduce taxes in order to strengthen the economy, install incentives (school choice, merit pay) to improve education, secure the nation's borders in an effective, humane way, or protect human life from conception until natural death. The Democratic contenders apparently believe in none of these things.
Instead, Obama and Clinton are ready to make sure government plays a much bigger role in our lives. Yes, the believe in universalized health care, but somehow they don't believe in what's critical: reducing health care costs (so more people can afford insurance) and improving the quality of care (by increasing the number of CARING doctors and nurses and by providing information about where patients can find good doctors and hospitals).
Can you really imagine either of these people serving as commander-in-chief? They have absolutely no links with the military. They find the patriotism and dedication of a David Petraeus, a John McCain, a Sarah Palin, or a Duncan Hunter to be incomprehensible. They're about as likely to suggest a military career for their children as to recommend they become pole-dancers.
One of the exasperating things about watching the Democrats is that they know, just as you and I do, how to help solve America's problems. Yet they fall back on the old liberal "solutions," which mainly involve greater government control and reduce individual liberty. This country can do a lot better than Obama or Clinton.
For example, what is Obama's position on education? It is to increase the compensation of members of the teachers' union, the National Education Association (NEA). As former education secretary Bill Bennett has pointed out the main Democrats have an education "policy" that would provide no benefits to students or their parents.
Sixteen years ago, the new President, Bill Clinton, named former SC governor Riley -- a man with the energy and vision of a crushed centipede -- as Secretary of Education. When that happened, I shook my head. It meant that during the Clinton Administration nothing truly positive would happen in American education. There would be no incentives -- that is, no merit pay or promotion opportunities -- for outstanding educators. There would be no real effort to improve the performance of American students. However, the NEA bosses would be purring like kittens.
Does Obama offer anything better? Does Mrs. Clinton? Do either of them show any signs of wanting to bring education into the American economic system, one that rewards excellence and penalizes failure?
Let's be clear: great teachers should be paid more, perhaps much more. The problem is that the NEA and people like Obama, dedicated to mediocirty in education, are opposed to such incentives. As long as most of the mediocre teachers continue voting for the Democrats, then all is well.
With Obama, I have another major problem: his incomprehension of the War on Terror. In the first debate, many months ago, Obama was asked a hypothetical question: what would he do as President if he learned that two American cities had been struck by terrorist attacks? (The implication seemed to be that the attacks were devastating and perhaps involved WMDs.)
Obviously nervous, Obama said that he would immediately call for an "investigation" to determine why the American intelligence community had failed to deter the attacks. It was a sickening answer.
In other words, Obama as President would take no responsibility for the failure. Instead, he'd lauch an investigation designed to pin the blame on someone other than himself. In short, he'd conduct a witch-hunt.
Why is this man so clueless about what being a Real President involves? A big part of the problem is his need, during the primaries, to appeal to the most fanatical Democratic activists, the people who gave us MoveOn.org.
According to poll data, 20% of the Democrats in America -- Moveon-types -- admit they're rooting for the Iraq insurgents -- a collection of mass-murderers -- to win the war. These are the Democrats who vote -- and give money -- to the various candidates, and Obama, like Mrs. Clinton, is committed to encouraging their illusions.
If Obama ever becomes President, God save the United States of America.
Thoughts on John McCain: I believe he will win the Florida Primary -- probably by a good margin. The key after today is for him to get the endorsements of Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson. If he can do that before Super Tuesday, it would mean he would win California, New York, New Jersey, and Illinois, among others. He may win them anyway, but the endorsements would help. In my own state of Pennsylvania (primary on April 22), McCain is far ahead. Huckabee is finished, but he seems to be one of the few people in America who's unaware of that significant fact. Ron Paul remains the most irritating man (after Dennis Kucinich) in American politics.
Monday, January 28, 2008
And two more today from the "big Ws," Winnipeg, Manitoba and Wappingers Falls, New York. Is there really a town called BORING, OR?
In a recent Op Ed piece in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, local activist Tim Tuinstra said the following: "As we work our way through the 2008 elections, the temptation will be great to be swept away by grand rhetoric and glib assumptions. One thing to count on is that political consultants will try to have the candidates fire up their base voters with tried-and-true propaganda."
Barack Obama is a master of "grand rhetoric and glib assumptions." One of CNN's "panel of experts" said of the Illinois Senator's SC victory remarks that they constituted "one of the greatest speeches in American history."
Nope. Here's the test for CNN's overblown praise. Do you remember one thing Obama said? That is, did any of his phrases resonate enough so that they would be unforgettable. Statements by Lincoln ("the world will little note nor long remember what we say here"), FDR ("a day that will live in infamy"), JFK ("we will never negotiate out of fear"), Reagan ("Mr. Gorbachev tear down that wall!"). With Obama, we have a long string of "elevated" words, but nothing that embeds itself in memory. As MacBeth puts it, "A tale full of sound and fury . . . signifying nothing."
Obama said that he wants to get away from the race-and-gender squabble, one orchestrated mainly by the Clintons in their struggle to achieve a co-presidency. He wants to discuss the "issues" and the "differences" between him and Hillary Clinton. However, both Mrs. Clinton and Senator Obama are standard-issue Democrats.
To quote an unsavory Democrat from an earlier era (George Wallace), with Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama, "there's not a dimes worth of difference." They don't discuss the "issues" because they don't really differ on them.
Both candidates want to redistribute income from those who earn it to those don't -- i.e., to their base of supporters. Their vision, such as it is, consists of nothing more than the politics of envy. Obama and Clinton look out at America and they see a horde of people, solid Democrats, chanting not "We want change," but rather "We want dollars." They see people who have more than they do, and they look to Clinton and Obama to redress that grievance.
When Obama talks about wanting the vote of Independents -- and even Republicans -- his inner meaning is clear. He's saying that SC proves he has the vote of Black people -- 81% of them. The talk about unity is really a code word for saying he wants the votes of more White people, only 24% of whom voted for him in South Carolina. He also wants the votes of Latinos, most of whom current favor his opponent.
Is this too cynical? After all, Obama is clearly a significant candidate. He has an attractive, energetic wife and two beautiful daughters. He also reminds us that sermons in Black churches generally are much superior to those in White churches.
However, when trying to evaluate Barack Obama as a human being, one yearns for Dame Edith Asquith. She's the one who, when asked what she thought of Oakland, CA, said: "There's no there . . . there." The same is true of Obama, the speechifier: There's no there . . . there. There's a lot of happy talk about what America could be if only it had a President Barack Obama.
Earlier I asked if anyone could remember anything Obama said in his "historic" South Carolina remarks. I doubt I'll get many takers. It was a speech that was all icing and no cake. The audience loved it, perhaps they were looking for style over substance.
Caroline Kennedy recently told us that Obama reminds us of her father. Actually, he reminds people like her of the "JFK Myth," not the JFK reality. John F. Kennedy was a man who delivered inspiring speeches, all of them written by others (Ted Sorenson and Richard Goodwin). We remember what JKF said but not much of what he did.
Why is that? Because John F. Kennedy didn't actually do much, aside from two things: (1) almost get us into a nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis; (2) engage the country in the Vietnam War. In her ringing endorsement of Barack Obama, Caroline Kennedy left out those parts.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Bulletin on SC Democratic Primary: Right after the New Hampshire Primary, I sent my friend Adam a note about Hillary Clinton's "strategy" to win the nomination. I said she would build on her identification of herself as the "female candidate.' I predicted there also be an emphasis -- subtle though it might be -- as the "White" candidate. In short, she would try to marginalize Obama as the candidate of Black people. That is exactly what her campaign, mainly through the efforts of her husband, attempted to do in South Carolina. They didn't succeed.
Am I claiming the Clintons ran a racialist campaign? Yes. As John King of CNN noted tonight, the Clintons "paid top dollar" for the support of a leading Black minister in SC. His support (and the money he handed out) was designed to win SC for Mrs. Clinton. They should have saved their money. Bill Clinton was a famous user of "walking around money," payoffs given to individuals who claim to be able to control the Black vote.
Tomorrow (Sunday), I'll tell a true story about Lester Maddox, a notorious racist and former Governor of Georgia. "Walking around money" was not exactly a foreign concept to him (or to most politicians of the day, including Jimmy Carter) in Georgia, where I lived for seven years.
I responded today (Sunday) to a e-mail from one of the "conservative" groups. It was making the point that Senator McCain was "wrong" on immigration and was therefore not a "conservative." Here's my response:
I recently wrote a couple of columns about immigration, relying mainly on articles in The Economist, a very prestigious publication, which disagrees strongly with you on every point you make about immigration. To say that immigrants, legal or illegal, depress the economy is ridiculous, although it's a widely held view among members of the far-right.
The Economist points out that foreign-born immigrants in America have won most of the Nobel Prizes in this decade. It also notes that 40% of the engineering and science PhDs in America are immigrants. It notes that 30% of the high-tech companies in Silicon Valley were started by immigrants. Somehow you "forgot" to mention these points, perhaps because you haven't taken the time to inform yourself on the issue.
As for low-skill immigrants, they pick the lettuce and the oranges, serve as nannies, clean the johns and make the beds at hotels and motels, and put up roofing when the temperature is 110 degrees.
Perhaps Senator McCain might raise these points -- most of which will come as news to people who detest Mexicans -- in the answer to one of your very loaded questions. The notion that immigrants, legal and illegal, don't play a positive role in the American economy is laughable. It now appears that Republicans and conservatives will play little or no role in resolving the issues related to immigration.
Last night, in one of the reddest of Red states, South Carolina, more Democrats voted for Obama than Republicans who voted for both McCain and Huckabee. Eighty thousand more people voted in the Democratic primary than did so in the Republican primary. The implications of that are extremely ominous for the GOP. I
f the Democratic candidate could be competitive in a state like SC, there's no way we can win the general election.
Somehow people who spend a great deal of time expressing their distaste for Hispanics are living in a parallel universe, one far-removed from the realities of American politics.
As frequent visitors to this site know, my emphasis is on practical politics -- on winning elections. Why? Because if we position ourself in such a way that we're likely to lose, we will have little or no say on important issues.
People who emphasize "ideological purity" on single issues don't understand the way the system works. An idelogical stand that turns off large groups of voters makes no sense.
The arguments made in our time against immigrants, legal or illegal, are the same ones made in the past about OUR ancestors, almost all of whom came here from other countries. There are 40 million legal Hispanic immigrants in our country. If we somehow indicate to them that we don't care about Hispanics, they will never vote for our candidates.
That would mean Republicans probably would lose several crucial states, including Florida, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico. Also, it would continue the situation where we are not competitive in huge states like California and New York. In short, it's a recipe for perpetual defeat.
A friend in Hawaii is a frequent listener to talk radio host Hugh Hewitt, and she finds it an increasingly painful experience. A few years ago, Hewitt wrote a totally uncritical book about Mitt Romney, and since then he has been shilling for the book and the candidate. My friend said the following:
"Thank you...for your continued efforts to gain a victory for the Right. Steve, I am REALLY offended by Hewitt's McCain bashing. I don't think I've been this angry, even when they went after Bush. McCain has spent half a century serving this nation...in the military and then in Congress, he does NOT deserve this. Every week at Mass I say a special prayer for Bush...I am adding McCain to my list and a prayer that McCain does so well in Florida there is NO chance for Romney. Tell me Steve, what is Hewitt going to do if McCain wins the nomination?" (Sanity 102)
Here's my reply: "Hewitt has NEVER made a compelling reason for his backing of Romney. Mitt is much too robotic (and, frankly, much too rich) to appeal to anything like a majority of the American people. His stance on McCain shows he knows nothing about the role of the military or the nature of heroism. Hugh should be ashamed of himself, but he obviously is incapable of shame."
Should we hold it against Romney that he is extremely rich (with an estimated fortune of $300 million)? No. What we should hold against him is his use of tens of millions in an effort to buy the presidential nomination. He spent his career at Bain Capital working in mergers and acquisitions that made him and his clients huge fortunes -- and cost many dedicated workers their jobs. He sells himself to voters as a "manager," but his skills seem to consist mainly of managing his own vast fortune and his political ambitions.
When Romney ran for the Senate against Ted Kennedy in 1994 he was strongly pro-gay-rights and pro-choice. Now, with a mainly conservative primary electorate, he has reversed his positions.
I have a problem with Romney's wife, Ann, who seems to have no positions that vary even in small ways from her husband's. I also have a problem with the Romney sons, whom I call the "Osmond Quintuplets." They are the quintessence of blandness, human parodies right out of "Father Knows Best." And this is the Romney that supposedly opposes human cloning!
As soon as Romney spots an opponent that the voters like, be it Huckabee or McCain, he immediately "goes negative." Unable to sell his own robotic personality, he goes on the attack against other candidates. He now campaigns without his $3,000 suits and even without a tie -- an experience that appears to be excruciating for him.
Totally clueless about the changes in American politics and society, Romney is pursuing the old Republican ideal of the politician as businessman. However, as Mike Huckabee put it, voters are much more interested in voting for the guy like the one that works next to them -- rather than the person who laid them off. Romney is the latter.
Pundits sometime talk about Hillary Clinton's "high negatives" in polls. However, Romney's negatives are nearly as high as Mrs. Clinton's. Frankly, that demonstrates the good sense of American voters.
Right now, I'm literally praying that John McCain will prevail in the Florida Primary. The evidence shows that this country neither wants nor needs Mitt Romney.
As for what Hugh Hewitt will do if McCain wins the nomination, somehow I don't expect him to fall on his sword. Perhaps he'll get a real job?To prevail, John McCain needs your help. Please consider making at least a small contribution to his campaign.
Friday, January 25, 2008
Several of the ideas on my immigration columns will come from one of my favorites sources: The (London) Economist. In an opinion piece called "Keep the Borders Open," the magazine's sub-head is: "The backlash against immigrants in the rich world is a threat to prosperity everywhere."
The Economist's general point is this: ". . . Most often migration is about young, motivated, dynamic people seeking to better themselves by hard work. History has shown that immigration encourages prosperity."In other words, the standard anti-Hispanic rhetoric of the far-right, the nativists, is far removed from reality. More to follow this weekend . . .
Here's more of what The Economist says about immigration, which sounds a lot like what Senators McCain, Kyl, and Graham say about it:"History has shown that immigration encourages prosperity. Tens of million of Europeans who made it to the New World in the 19th and 20th centuries improved their lot, just as the near 40 million foreign born are doing in America today. Many migrants return home, with new skills, savings, technology, and bright ideas. Remittances to poor countries in 2006 were worth at least $260 billion -- more, in many countries, than aid and foreign investment combined. Letting in migrants does vastly more good for the world's poor than stuffing any number of [checks into appeals from charities]."
- The Economist points out that immigrants play a critical, positive role in the American economy. For example:
- Roughly one-third of the Americans who won Nobel Prizes in Physics in the past seven years were born abroad; and,
- About 40% of science and engineering PhDs working in America are immigrants; and,
Approximately one-third of Silicon Valley companies were started by foreign-born individuals (mainly Indian or Chinese).
However, what about low-skilled workers, many of them from South of the U.S. border? In fact, their skills levels are about the same as those of our immigrant grandparents or great-grandparents. There's a tremendous need in our country for people who will do work that native-born Americans avoid.
What The Economist is saying is what John McCain believes. Oh, and those beliefs happen to be accurate.
More to follow on Saturday . . .
A SANE VIEW OF IMMIGRATION
In The Economist, January 5-11, 2008, the London-based publication has a fascinating 14-page special report on “migration” (called “immigration” in the U.S.).
In our country, immigration has been an extremely contentious issue, and Senator John McCain’s support of Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) has hurt his candidacy. He’s been accused – falsely, I believe – of favoring “amnesty” for illegal immigrants, and that kind of accusation can be the kiss of death in Republican politics.
The Economist’s position is that immigration is a good thing – a source of diversity, technological advances, and prosperity. In other words, it thinks people like McCain (which the magazine generally favors) are right, while their critics are wrong.
The publication says, “. . . Most often, migration is about young, motivated, dynamic people seeking to better themselves by hard work.” It adds, “History has shown that immigration encourages prosperity. Tens of millions of Europeans who made it to the New World in the 19th and 20th centuries improved their lot, just as the near 40 million foreign-born are doing in America today.”
Much of the debate over immigration involves sloganeering, such as “the rule of law.” In fact, the U.S. has modified many laws that were irrational or immoral, such as the “law” that Black people counted for three-fifths as much as White people. It also eliminated the law that said women couldn’t vote. In the past generation, the country modified the law for those fleeing Communist Cuba, allowing those who reached our shores to stay.
The real issue will immigration – legal or even illegal – boils down to this: Is it a good thing, or a bad one? That is, do people immigrating to this nation provide more benefits than debits?
The Economist admits there can be negatives associated with immigration. It notes that politicians have a tendency to pander to “xenophobic fears. Also, it admits that large numbers of immigrants can provoke job fears among natives. What’s more, it’s clear that huge disparities of income across borders could result in a stream of incomers turning into a flood.
Yet, the magazine sees immigration mainly as a plus. It notes that “many migrants return home with new skills, savings, technology, and bright ideas. Remittances to poor countries in 2006 were worth at least $260 billion . . . Letting in migrants does vastly more good for the world’s poor than [sending off charitable contributions.”
In addition, “The movement of people also helps the rich world. Prosperous countries with graying workforces [America, Europe, and Japan, among them] rely ever more on young foreigners . . . . Around a third of the Americans who won Nobel Prizes in physics in the past seven years were born abroad. About 40% of science and engineering PhDs working in America are immigrants.”
In short, The Economist disagrees sharply with the nativist wing of the Republican Party. The points the magazine makes are the same kind that motivated John McCain, Jon Kyl, Lindsay Graham and others to support Comprehensive Immigration Reform. In the face of persuasive arguments, anti-immigrant slogans aren’t enough.
I'm borrowing the following column from Sanity 102, who posted it at: http://outsideofthebox.townhall.com. Please visit her fine blog, and do the same with Christoper in MI: http://youngrepublican.townhall.com/, as well as the blog of GenXDad.
Ok, Hugh Hewitt has gone too far.Did you know that McCain's adopted "black" [actually, she's Asian] daughter was "given" to McCain and his wife to adopt by Mother Theresa? Did you know that the war in Iraq would never have turned around if McCain had not pushed for the Surge?
Did you know that if his "gang of 14" had not agreed to being reasonable, there would be no Alito, no Roberts, No great judicary picks on the Appellate Courts because the Dems would STILL be filibustering. And if the GOP had used the "nuclear option", the now Democratic majority would be able to do the same?
Did you know that the reason McCain fought against the tax cuts was because he wanted what MOST Conservatives complain that Bush and Company DIDN'T do...cut spending at the same time?
Did you know that while most civilians think torture is ok, MOST of those serving, especially in combat, do not? That part of the reason for McCain's disapproval of torture for prisoners is because he spent years during the Vietnam War as a POW and experienced first hand torture. And unlike Hewitt whose connection to the military is a wife's father, McCain served his country for over two decades.Did you know that his father and grandfather served? And that at least one of his sons is serving now in the war zone? Can any of the major candidates claim that type of dedication to our nation?
Did you know that as a border state senator, he has pushed for funding for border security and REASONABLE method of dealing with illegals...and that his border state has returned McCain to Congress 4 times...the last 6 year run in 2004...2 years AFTER 9/11 (the year that the border situation was supposed to have become vital)?
Did you know that McCain was pro-life before Reagan, Fred Thompson, and Romney were pro-life? Yet...today Hewitt pointed out that the next president would appoint 4 maybe 5 judges to the SCOTUS...and asked, "do you TRUST McCain over Romney and Rudy to appoint strict constitutionists?"
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Today, I received the following message from Bard Marston, a Massachusetts-based volunteer for Senator John McCain. Brad's efforts were vital in the Senator's winning the NH and SC primaries. As Super Tuesday (Feb. 25) approaches, the Senator needs contributions that will enable him to make media "buys" in critical states. I donated $50 today to the Senator, and I hope you'll consider doing likewise. Thanks.
(The following is the link to McCain's web site, where you should click on "Contribute": http://johnmccain.com/. I'm asking everyone who visits my site(s) to reprint this posting on their own site, as well as to send e-mails to friends and family members.
Steve,I hope this is what you had in mind.
McCain Victory 08
January 24, 2008
The Florida Primary is only days away. The McCain Campaign is launching a major media buy and needs your help. It is so important, that Senator McCain has offered to have a private conference call with the top donors from McCainVictory08, when we raise $100,000 for the campaign.John McCain is connecting with voters and is leading in national polls and in the important state of Florida.
Rudy Giuliani has bet his political future on winning Florida. Mitt Romney continues to pour millions of his own money into his campaign. All the candidates know that a win in Florida will catapult them towards Super Tuesday.
We need to make certain that John McCain has the resources he needs to compete in Florida and Super Tuesday. Please make a donation today directly to the campaign by clicking the link below.Your donation of $100, $250 or $500 will help John McCain get his message out to Florida and answer the increasingly strident attacks of some of his opponents.I understand that at this point in the campaign, many McCain Suppporters are "maxed out" on donations.
Whether you can contribute or not, please help Senator McCain by forwarding this e-mail to five friends or family members. Make sure to tell them when they make their donation to put YOUR NAME in the "referred by" box at the bottom of the donation page. The top 15 individual donors and the top 15 referrers will be invited to participate in a private conference call with Senator McCain after his victories on Super Tuesday.
I know it is a lot to ask but your donation, in ANY amount is much needed and much appreciated by Senator McCain, the hundreds and hundreds of volunteers for the campaign and of course, me.
McCain Victory 08
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Sometimes what appears to be the "conservative" position isn't the sound one -- or the correct one. A classic case is the Civil Rights Act of 1964, strongly supported by Lyndon Johnson and just as strongly opposed by Barry Goldwater. In the election of 1964, Goldwater was swamped by Johnson, and a number of fine conservative legislators "drowned" along with the presidential nominee.
Yes, the Civil Rights Act interfered with the "freedoms" of some owners of hotels, restaurants, and the like. But the freedom to deny service to Black people and their families was not a "liberty" anyone should possess. Thus, Goldwater was wrong, and Johnson was right.
The controversy over the Act did great damage to the Republican Party, lasting damage. It meant the GOP lost the Black vote -- and apparently that loss is permanent. In presidential elections, the Republican candidate is lucky to get 6%-8% of the Black vote. That makes it nearly impossible to win several important states, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Illinois, and California. Also, there are 40-plus Black members of Congress (including one Senator, Obama), and none of them is a Republican.
That sad, enduring situation traces back more than 40 years to Goldwater's opposition to the Civil Rights Act.
As we examine John McCain's positions on various issues, we find him seeking -- often imperfectly -- to keep the Republican Party from repeating the mistakes of the Goldwater era. Frankly, he doesn't want his Party, however good its intentions, to become a Permanent Minority.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Sarah, those of us who love and respect you are willing to do whatever it takes to make sure that someday you will be inaugurated as President of our beloved country. Keep up the great work! (Later today, I'll have some quotes from the article in Alaska.)
In the February issue of Vogue magazine, Sarah Palin is featured (along with Kansas Governor Kathleen Sibelius). Sarah is the mother of four children, three girls (Piper, Willow, and Bristol) and a boy, Track, 18, who is in the U.S. Army Infantry. Track enlisted on 9/11/2007. It's likely he will see service in Iraq or Afghanistan, or both.
Sarah's husband, Todd, is an oil field production worker on the North Slope oil field and formerly was a commercial fisherman. A hunter and outdoorswoman, Sarah is a life member of the NRA.
Increasingly, she's seen as a likely choice for the vice-presidential slot on the GOP's national ticket. She's an energy on energy, the environment, and climate change as it relates to Alaska.
The time has come for Huckabee to realize that he will win at most one more state: Arkansas. He should withdraw his candidacy. As for Huckabee getting the vice-presidential nod, any nominee who make such a choice should realize he will be running with an anvil around his neck.
Monday, January 21, 2008
For many months, I've been one of a group on the Internet advocating that the Republican presidential nominee, whomever he turns out to be, choose Gov. Sarah Heath Palin of Alaska as his running mate. When Adam Brickley started the "Draft Palin" Movement, he, I, and another guy were the three known members of the group. Since then, a lot more people -- some of them national figures -- have joined the growing crowd.
A few months ago, I separated myself (slightly) from the Draft Palin for VP effort and started my own one-man band -- one dedicated to getting Sarah the presidential nomination in either 2012 or 2016. I started wondering -- and, among Palinites this is something of a heresy -- whether it would be a good idea for her to seek the vice-presidency.
Behind my (slight) change in views on the best scenario from Sarah was a growing belief that no Republican nominee can win the presidency in 2008. In a previous column I mentioned The Economist's note that registered Democrats now outnumber registered Republicans by 50% to 35%. I also observed that the Democratic nominees have raised an amazing 70% more cash than their Republican counterparts. A similar fundraising imbalance exists with the two congressional committees.
For Sarah Palin, the question is if it would advance her career to run as the vice-presidential nominee on a losing ticket. Yes, it would do wonders for her name recognition, and the world would get a better sense of what an outstanding human being she is. On the other hand, vice-presidential nominees on tickets that lose big tend to disappear quickly.
Consider Barry Goldwater's running mate in 1964 -- Bill Miller of Lockport, New York -- a man who might have been vaporized after his losing effort. Or consider John Edwards (Kerry, 2004), a man who believes he's a serious candidate for President but will be forevermore the guy who got the $400 hair cut. And whatever happened to Joe Lieberman (Gore, 2000)? Or Dan Quayle (Bush, 1988, 1992)? Or Jack Kemp (Dole, 1996)?
Running for V-P on the wrong ticket can be a real career-stopper.Sarah, it may be that the best thing which could ever happen to you is NOT to be on ticket in 2008. However, I'm still predicting that -- eventually -- they will need to reserve a spot for you on Mt. Rushmore.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Later today (Sunday), I'll have some more comments about the candidacy of Pastor Mike Huckabee -- hopefully, my last comments on that unpleasant individual. In the comments section on my previous column, I respond at length (also for the last time) to Larry, who feels I'm treating him and Mike unfairly. I've pointed out how Huckabee has made comments that are anti-Mormon and anti-Black. I've also discussed how he has some virulently anti-American people around him, including Rev. Laurence Kuhn, author of "God and Ceasar," which compares contemporary America (unfavorably) to Nazi Germany. Huckabee has absolutely no chance of ever winning a general election in a free society (ours), but he doesn't seem to have grasped that obvious fact.
I received today The Economist magazine's "The World in 2008" issue today, and it contains a good story on the emerging political situation. In an article titled "The Democrats' Year," its sub-head is: "The Betting is on Another Clinton Presidency."
Here's the heart of the piece: "It looks highly likely that this will be the Democrats' year. The Republican Party is in serious disarray -- unpopular with the electorate, plagued by scandals, tarnished by incompetence, and unsure which way it is heading. Five years ago, America was equally divided by party identification: 43% for each party. By 2007 the arithmetic had evolved to give the Democrats an advantage of 50% to 35%."
The article continues: "By October 2007 Democratic presidential candidates has raised about 70% more money than their Republican rivals. Ohio, Virginia, and Colorado are leaning Democratic--Ohio, which tipped the election for George Bush in 2004, decidedly so. Whoever wins the Democratic primary will most likely end up in the White House."
The Economist's view of reality is much like my own. I believe Barack Obama would be the Democrats' strongest candidate, rather than Hillary Clinton, but right now I have little doubt that one of them will be the next President. The magazine mentions that the next President will be the one to resolve three key issues: Iraq, Social Security, and immigration. They might also have included health care.
If The Economist's predictions are correct, Republicans (and conservatives) will have no say on those major issues. We can make all the calls we want to the big Democrat majorities in the House and Senate, and they will ignore us.
As I'll point out in future columns, we conservatives have brought much of this dismal situation on ourselves. We've turned off most of the American electorate, and we will live to regret doing so.
Juan Carlos Lopez of "CNN Espanol" says of Hispanic voters (nearly 10% of registered voters in the U.S.): "They consider the whole debate on immigration not just to be directed against illegal immigrants but against Hispanics as a whole." Unfortunately, Republicans, with the exceptions of Giuliani and McCain, have done nothing to clarify this situation. That means states like NV, CO, AZ, and NM will be very, very hard for Republicans to win next November.
Friday, January 18, 2008
My next column will appear tonight (Saturday), after the South Carolina Primary. If John McCain wins in SC, he probably will end up as the GOP's nominee. If he doesn't, then things will continue to remain very complicated. The Florida Primary occurs in 10 days and "Super Tuesday" will be in 17 days. Will we have a nominee by Feb. 6? Anyone who knows the answer to that question should let the rest of us in on it. Also, is it just me, or does Obama look like someone who's going to be nearly impossible to beat in the general election? As the saying goes, "we live in interesting times."
One of my biggest problems with "Mike" Huckabee is his embrace of the Confederate Flag, a symbol of racism, slavery, and segregation to many in S.C. and the nation. A little good ole Arkansas racism seems to be the way to get some vote from the Pavlovian "evangelicals," who make up most of his supporters. A little offense against Black folks isn't going to hurt him in in the heart of Dixie.
Of course, the Confederate flag means different strokes to different folks. To African-Americans, a group that doesn't "like Mike," the flag stands for racism, slavery, segregation, and humiliation. To the group that drives dusty pick-ups and drinks throws Blue Ribbon cans out the window, the flag reflects a time when Black people "knew their place."
Mike Huckabee claims to be a Christian -- a claim for which I see no evidence. I don't take him at his word, because I don't see any deeds. I see another Southerner out conning the boobs.
Of course, many politicians in the Republican Party (including Mark Foley and Duke Cunningham) have made the faith claim. But I have no earthly (or heavenly) idea what Mike Huckabee believes -- if anything. He exemplifies the stylistics of a backwater form of what passes for Christianity in rural areas of the Deep South, but I don't see anything more substantial. He seems to love his neighbors, but not the ones two streets away.
As I've tried hard (but failed) to explain to Larry Perrault, a big backer of Pastor Mike, people can claim to believe anything, and of course some of them believe nothing. I increasingly tend to think Mike falls in that category. And I'm beginning to wonder about Larry, who seems to have two issues: abortion and gay marriage, which happen to Huckabee's key issues. For someone like Larry, disagreeing with him constitutes a deviation from "The Word of God."
Huckabee knows (and so does Larry) that the chances for a constitutional amendment on either issue are about the same as polar bears migrating to Miami. (The last effort at an amendment on abortion was in 1983, and it fell 18 votes short of passage in the Senate.) Mike knows there's no chance for such amendments, but if that waves his rhetorical version of the bloody sheet in front of the primitives, some grunt and some drool.
The only way we can determine an individual's beliefs -- be it Larry or Pastor Mike -- is by their acts. "By their fruits ye shall know them." If the fruit is rotten, well . . .Mike's "fruits" right now seem to be confined to cozying up to the Primitive Baptists and racists crawling out of the S. Carolina swamps.
The push-polling on his behalf is Exhibit B of the racism and foulness that afflicts his campaign. There has been an effort in 2000 and another one this year by Huckabee supporters (Christians all, one presumes) to make false statements about John McCain. Pastor Huckabee could stop this, but he chooses not to. The claim made in the sewers of South Carolina politics is that John McCain "faithered an illegitimate Black child." As I've explained, John McCain and his wife Cindy adopted a dark-skinned orphan in BanglaDesh, and she's been their daughter for many years.
As I mentioned, Mike Huckabee could stop the slurs about the McCains, but he chooses not to. Are there enough good Republicans in S. Carolina to repudiate Mike's tactics? I guess we shall see soon.
The admonitions of Jesus Christ are difficult ones, and the "evangelical favorite" is falling far short of living up to them. He's Goomer Pyle with an attitude -- and not a good attitude.
Regarding another Huckabee supporter, Triva, of Greenville, SC, she and I have had an interesting "relationship." She made many comments on this blog, and I reprinted all of them. I made a few comments on her blog, and she reprinted none of them. I guess that struck her as fair.
Triva is a homeschooler, a group that strongly backs Mike Huckabee. She doesn't send her children to public school in Greenville, SC, because, as she explained, "the schools aren't good enough." In the Deep South, the "not-so-good schools" are code words for having too many people that don't resemble "us."
I told her that her views on the free exchange of information didn't augur well for preparing her children -- many pictures of whom she prints on her blog -- for life in a diverse world. She didn't appreciate the advice, mainly because she hasn't yet grasped the fact that some people disagree with her! There are occasional signs that Triva could actually be a good person, but somehow that doesn't look like a realistic possibility. Self-righteousness and goodness don't go well together.
She doesn't like me, and right about now the feeling has become mutual. As for Mike, he reminds us why so many people continue to view Southern Baptists as symbols of narrowness, sexism, meanness, and intolerance.
In the 2000 SC Primary, John McCain backed off on criticizing having the Confederate Flag fly above the capital. In 2008, McCain called his earlier position "an act of cowardice." Of course, John McCain is a 20th century model of American heroism.
Somehow, I have the strong feeling that terms like cowardism and heroism have little meaning to Mike Huckabee, who is the former but not the latter.
TO BARACK OBAMA
By Frances Rice
Democrats have a 150-year history of using race as a political weapon to keep blacks in virtual slavery and Republicans out of power.The recent firestorm ignited by Senator Hillary Clinton's racially-tinged attempt to derail Senator Barack Obama's presidential campaign shows the perils of Democrats using their race-based weapon against a black Democrat. In the black community, people are outraged about how Democrat demagogues, including Billionaire Bob Johnson of BET, are treating Obama as an "uppity Negro" who dares to defy their white Democratic Party masters.
Prior to the Clinton-Obama hullabaloo over Senator Clinton's disparaging remark about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Clinton campaign was being given a pass for using racial slurs against Senator Obama. When Democrats called Senator Obama a "Magic Negro," there was hardly a ripple of protest. Just as little concern is expressed when Democrats slander black Republicans, such as former Lt. Governor Michael Steele who Democrats depicted as a "Simple Sambo" and Dr. Condoleezza Rice who was portrayed as an ignorant "Mammy", reminiscent of the racial stereotypes used by Democrats during the days of "Jim Crow."
Any Republican using such slanderous tactics against blacks would be castigated as a racist and destroyed politically.
If the controversy generated by Senator Clinton's remark that diminished the civil rights role of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. signals the beginning of an end to the type of racial divisiveness inflicted on our nation for over a century and a half by Democrats, then the angst created by Senator Clinton will be well worth it.To fully appreciate the significance of this possible historical turning point, we must pause to examine briefly the Democratic Party's sordid racist history.
Click here to view the full article.
From Steve: As many of you know, I'm a major advocate of getting more African-Americans to vote for conservative Republican candidates. The NBRA is a major force in making that happen. The following is my response to Frances Rice's comments:
Frances Rice's piece is outstanding, and it demonstrates why conservatives of any color need to fight the effort to keep Blacks in a state of political bondage. Hillary Clinton and her supporters, including Bob Johnston, have determined that now is the time to "go negative." You are seeing subtle efforts to portray Mrs. Clinton as not only the "female candidate," but also as the "white candidate."
But don't liberal Democrats "love Black people?" Not exactly. They love the votes more than they love the individuals who cast ballots. Four years later they show up, brag about a few short-term handouts, and ask (demand) the votes again.
Frances Rice mentions the slurs against Michael Steele, a great candidate and a wonderful man, and Condoleeza Rice. Similar slurs were made against Ken Blackwell in Ohio and Lynn Swann, candidate for governor in PA. In Swann's case, Gov. Ed Rendell (who supposed "loves" Black people) ran campaign ads -- in black-and-white -- that sought to portray Lynn as some sort of unsavory character out of an old Steppin Fetchitt movie. Gee, did anyone (besides me) call Rendell on this? Nope.
Yes, I am Caucasian, but I do understand how difficult it must be at time for Black conservatives to sustain their efforts. But it's absolutely essential to make sure that great candidates like Steele, Blackwell, and Swann ultimately prevail. Your peers might not thank you now, but your children and grandchildren surely will.God bless all of you who are doing the "heavy lifting." It will pay dividends.
I intend to reprint the short of version of Frances Rice's piece on my blog. I also urge people of all races to join conservative Black groups (such as the ones in Yahoo Groups) and do everything possible to support their efforts. If you can, please make financial contributions to Black conservatives. Thanks!
Thursday, January 17, 2008
The following is a line about John McCain in Michael Barone's superb The Almanac of American Politics, 2008: "It appears to be his view that members of Congress, like members of the military, should serve the national interest honorably and without reference to political considerations. Linked to that is his opposition to what he considers pork barrel spending, which provides him plenty of material for his self-deprecating jokes about how unpopular he is with many colleagues." (p. 95)
"Gamecock" on Red State, a Fred Thompson or Mitt Romney supporter, sent me the following yesterday: "704-779-9080 . . . give me your best shot to switch to McCain." (I had told him that it looked as if Thompson would finish fourth in the SC Primary.)
I called "Gamecock" this morning (Thursday), and it was one of the more unsatisfactory "conversations" I've ever had. He wouldn't let me get a word in edgewise. He sang the praises of Fred Thompson (or, alternatively, Mr. Mega-Bucks, Mitt Romney). He denounced McCain at every turn.
He said that we should give no credit to McCain's being tortured for five-plus years in a Vietnamese prison. After all, as he put it, "Some of the men in those prisons might have come back and murdered somebody." I couldn't tell if he was serious, or even might be darkly implying that McCain had "offed" someone. It would be in keeping with his general comments about the Senator.
He condemned McCain for comments made in 2000 in the SC Primary. In that primary, McCain haters sent out many mailings saying, "McCain has a Black illegitimate daughter." McCain does have a dark-skinned daughter. She's not African-American, but is rather an adopted child from Bangla Desh. She appeared this year at a McCain rally, at least in part to dispel the lies told about him in Gamecock's beloved SC.
This year, McCain opponents are engaging in "push polling," which refers to people calling voters pretend to be pollsters. Among other things, they're saying that McCain is "pro-abortion." In fact, McCain has been staunchly pro-life for all his 24 years in public life. He has been the most consistent of all Republican candidates on this issue.
What Gamecock thinks about the lies and innuendos isn't clear. He appears to have the traditional Southern view -- and I lived in the Deep South for many years -- that all's fair in love, war, and politics. He gave me no reasons for his supporting Thompson and Romney.
I asked him what "Fred" and "Mitt" were doing while McCain, an authentic American hero to most of our fellow citizens, was rotting away in a Vietnamese torture chamber. He didn't seem to regard that question as relevant.
He admitted that McCain was "right" on the need for the Iraq Surge. However, he said that McCain had been wrong "five times" on Iraq issues. He didn't note what those five instances had been.
In my view, Gamecock is a classic supporter of Fred Thompson, known far-and-wide as the laziest man in politics. Why he wanted me to waste my time calling him is a question I'll never get answered.
My assumption is that Gamecock is deeply embedded in the racialist politics that has dogged South Carolina for generations. He sees McCain's failure to pander to the bigots at Bob Jones University and other fever swamps in the state as a failing. He should be ashamed of himself, but shame is not his strong suit.
He condemned McCain for "changing" his position on the Confederate Flag that used to fly above the SC Capital. In fact, McCain has said not opposing the Flag was his worst political decision. On CBS News, he said it was an "act of cowardice" on his part. Somehow, that kind of extreme candor doesn't impress the flag-loving Gamecock.
Anyways, I explained to "Gamecock" that McCain neither wants nor needs the support of people like him. I asked him whether he had any "character." In response, he chuckled.
My Thoughts on Obama-Clinton:
I said on a recent Eric Dondero radio show (day before NH Primary) that Mrs. Clinton's tearing up would help her rather than hurt. The others on the show were quite amazed at my statement, which turned out to be true. I agree that states with significant Black populations (SC & FL) are made to order for Obama. Winning a primary drains strength (not all strength, but some) from other candidates. I also believe he'll win SC & FL. I expect the Clintons, particularly Bill, to get nastier and nastier. I think Obama's long-ago drug use will rear its head again. I predict Mrs. Clinton will somehow cast herself not just as the female candidate, but as the Caucasian candidate. It's a blood sport for the Clintons, and if they lose they will want to take down Obama with them. They won't succeed, but they will sure try. I have a slight (key word) Lee Atwater streak in me, and I sometimes enjoy people tearing each other apart. Sarah Palin is so removed from that world (although she loves to win) that she seems like a different species. Yes, Barack Obama is starting to look a lot like the next President of the U.S.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
If you'd like to read a great column on Barack Obama, go to John Hawkins' www.theforgottenstreet.com
This is another piece in my never-ending correspondence with Cindy at The Pink Flamingo (see column below):
One of the major issues out there is how to bring conservatives down from their perch in the trees, scratching their pits, back into humanity. I just got a note from one far-right type telling me how awful Barack Obama's church was (same type of article that appeared six months ago in the NY Times). I sent a long reply.
That particular church does not seem particulary "Christian," but it does a great deal of good work in the community, trying to bring people up into the middle class (while berating the elements of middle-class life that most of us worry about, including the bigotry).
My problem with Obama is not his church. It's his politics, which is the same old "redistribute the wealth!" "Get re-elected." "Pay off AFSCME and the NEA!" When people go around condemning his silly minister, they avoid confronting the real issues.
Too many far-right people have one major gripe with Obama: the color of his skin.
Obama's wife Michelle not only has "rhythm," but also is a tremendously effective political operative. His two girls are beautiful and appealing. His message strikes the right chord with many people.
Meanwhile, my right-wing correspondent is telling me who his minister is friendly with and that he doesn't particularly cotton to white folks. Historically, of course white folks haven't exactly been the best friends of black folks, what with slavery, segregation, and the like.
My wife likes Obama a lot, and she is not in any sense a stupid person. Anyway, when people become serious candidates for President, Democrat or Republican, I start treating them with basic courtesy. We only get one President, and he or she turns out to be OUR President. If we go through another hate-fest, such as the one we've had with the Leftists and Bush, the nation will be diminished.
We need to talk about what conservatism is, and what it's not. It's not most of the stuff now parading around the Internet.
The following is part of a discussion I've been having with Cindy at The Pink Flamingo about SOME people who call themselves "conservatives." Being racist, sexist, or homophobic does NOT qualify one as a conservative. As a Christian, my obligation is not to bash people who are different from me, but rather to love them.
Cindy, at some point I'll start writing again about what's going on with "conservatives." I do not support "conservatives" who are anti-Mexican, anti-Black, anti-professional women, or anti-gay.
On the critical issue of dealing with crime: I have been making the point lately that Rudy-Bratton-Kerik (and also Bloomberg) have been central in reducing NYC's murder rate from 2500 pre-Giuliani (2494, actually) to fewer than 500. This is a major "pro-life" achievement. It is a major libertarian accomplishment, because liberty has no meaning if people are afraid to open their front doors.
There are too many murders, especially gun murders, in America. If the American people ask what we're going to do about it, we need to provide a coherent answer. We already have 5-10 times as many people in jail as other developed countries, so building more and more jails is NOT the answer. Murder and crime generally are problems, and our political obligation is to SOLVE problems, not to pretend they don't exist.
Many people who call themselves conservatives have defaulted on their obligations as citizens.
There are major, major problems with campaign finance, and it does need to be reformed. Right now, campaign finance as it is will lead to a permanent Democratic majority. Thus, the condemnations of McCain are absurd.
Go to opensecrets.org and see how your least-favorite candidates (Pelosi, Murtha, and Obey) are doing in getting "donations." They're getting so much money that there is no earthly way a Republican candidate could defeat them. The Democrats' national congressional committee has raised TWICE as much money as its Republican counterpart. So, good luck to us on regaining control of Congress.
As for the "Gang of 14," it consisted of some of the best people in the Senate, patriotic Americans who were trying to turn the Senate into something other than an ideological hate machine. They should be commended, not condemned. An imperfect solution to a real problem trumps no solution at all.
Additional part of dialogue with Cindy is below:
Cindy, the situation with self-styled "conservatives" (some of them racists and various haters) is bad -- very bad. However, there's a healthy re-sorting going on in American politics, and that's probably necessary.
I cite one episode where Hillary Clinton was asked if English should be the "official language" in America. She replied, "It should be the national language but not the official language." Right now, she's better on that issue than Republicans. She handled it without ticking off a single Hispanic.
All the Republicans, except McCain, reply that English should be the "official" language. Does that win them any votes? The point of running for office is to take positions acceptable to a majority of voters. Writing off the Hispanic vote will be a disaster, and right now conservatives seem unable to avoid disasters. Appealing only to the "base," about 20% of American voters, is a great way to lose 45-plus states.
This is a government "of, by, and for the people," which includes people who disagree with us. If a majority disagrees with us, it's our problem, not theirs.
Little-Known Political Fact: Without votes from gays and lesbians in the 2000 election, George W. Bush would have lost Florida -- and thus the election. The "inconvenient truth" is that Al Gore would have won that election and probably would still be President. Bush got tens of thousands of gay and lesbian votes in FL, an essential element in his tiny margin of victory (fewer than 600 votes).
Exit polls showed that Bush got about one-quarter of the ballots cast by FL homosexuals. In most surveys, about one-third of gays and lesbians describe their political philosophy as conservative. About the same number define their religious belief as Christian. Those who hate G/L are generally defined as non-Christians, because they violate completely The Second Great Commandment.
In the case of sin, it's critical that we concentrate on our own. We do not know others well enough -- their beliefs, intentions, and actions -- to stand in any sort of judgment of them. If we do otherwise, we are in complete violation of the teachings of Jesus Christ. An individual's sins are between him or her and God.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
If you watched CNN (and other networks) last Tuesday, you saw that they kept waiting for the Obama votes to come in from Hanover (Dartmouth College), Durham (the University of New Hampshire), and other college locations (including tiny Franklin Pierce College). Presumably, they're still waiting. Mrs. Clinton held a good lead throughout the night, college students voted in disappointing (for Obama) numbers, and female students who did vote often went for the female candidate.
One reason the polls messed up lies with the concept of "likely voters," a concept invented by Gallup many years ago. Generally, likely voters are those who've voted with some regularity in past elections. If you've voted before, you're "likely" to vote this time -- right? Well, not exactly.
The pollsters have had a terrible time this year with young voters, especially those who may -- or may not -- vote for the first time. If a pollster has no evidence of past voting practices, it's impossible to tell if a voter is actually going to show up at the polling place. In New Hampshire, the pollsters apparently guessed what might happen, and they guessed wrong.
The media, which has significant influence on pollsters, assumed Obama's victory in Iowa would give him a big "bounce" in New Hampshire. It didn't. Poll evidence (?) suggests Mrs. Clinton generated some votes, not a whole lot, from her tearing up episode. Overall, there was a very high turnout in the Democratic Primary (280,000 voters various 220,000 for Republicans), and that apparently helped Mrs. Clinton, something the pollsters should have picked up before the vote.
In a typical election, voters identified as "likely" tend to vote at a percentage between 70% and 75%. In other words, as many as 30% of likely voters end up not voting. They're sick, or they're out of town, or it snows heavily -- or perhaps they're just not turned on by the current election.
Registered Democrats are more likely to vote than the much-heralded "Independents." Registered Republicans are more likely to vote than either Indies or Democrats. Many of the much-discussed "Independents" are not the dispassionate, reflective souls we sometimes visualize. In fact, many of them have little interest in voting. If they see a snowflake, they're likely to stay home.
Gallup is the gold-standard of polls. It skews its likely voter’s concept slightly toward the Republicans. It does so for reasons stated above -- that Republicans are more likely to vote. Apparently, the Harris Poll does something similar. Traditionally, that approach has made Gallup and Harris the most accurate polls.
However, in 2004 Gallup's Polls through the autumn consistently showed George W. Bush doing well, perhaps winning nationally by millions of votes. Many Democrats and many in the media (generally Democrats) didn't like that and suggested Gallup was shilling for the GOP.
Gallup got nervous. It changed its likely-voter template to include more Democrats. Soon, it showed Bush running neck-and-neck with John Kerry. Also, Gallup indicated Kerry probably would win key states like Ohio and Florida. On the other hand, it also suggested Bush had a good chance of winning Pennsylvania.
On Election Night, Gallup (and many in the media) had a huge quantity of egg on their face. Bush won Ohio and Florida by fairly substantial margins. He lost in Pennsylvania, as most Pennsylvanians -- including this one -- had predicted he would.
What about the pollsters' legendary margin-of-error? As both Iowa and New Hampshire exist, the term is largely mythical. If pollsters really knew with precision what inaccuracy there may be in their polls, they'd presumably correct it. The margin-of-error is mainly a way for them to explain why their polls failed to predict an election accurately. They can always say, "Well, I was within the margin of error." I presume Fortune Tellers could make a similar claim.
Actually, I like pollsters, much as I like, say, polar bears. But I don't want to get overly close to either.
May the best man -- or best woman -- win.
A taste of tomorrow . . .
This is a big chunk of tomorrow's column. I'll add to it early tomorrow (Wednesday)
In future weeks, I'll be writing some about three controversial topics: (1) Immigration Reform and the need for a comprehensive version of it; (2) Campaign Finance Reform; (3) gun laws, particularly as they apply to urban areas.
On immigration, the key to secure our borders without losing for generations the critical Hispanic vote. Hispanics are the largest minority group (and I'm not talking about "illegals") in the U.S., larger than the number of African-Americans in the U.S. If we lose the Hispanic vote, as earlier we lost the Black vote in the 1960s, we can make all the idological points we want -- and nobody will be listening. Recently, Democrats in Congress undercut the financing for the "double-wide" security fence. Are they going to pay a penalty for that in future elections? Right now, it doesn't look as if they will.
On Campaign Finance Reform: Republicans face a big problem here. The Democrats are raising money at a much more rapid pace than Republicans. The Democratic Campaign Congressional Committee (DCCC) have raised TWICE as much money as the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC). What that means is that it's going to be impossible (and I don't mean "nearly impossible") to regain control of Congress. In the presidential race, Obama and Clinton have been raising much more money than their Republican counterparts.
On gun laws: I was recently on Eric Dondero's MainstreamLibertarian program on BlogTalkRadio. Debating against three libertarians (including Eric), I made the point that there are too many murders in our cities, including Philadelphia. I pointed out that Giuliani's (and Police Chief Bratton's) approach to crime has produced dramatic results. Pre-Giuliani, New York was America's murder capital, with nearly 2,500 murders. Giuliani cut the murder rate in half, and Mayor Bloomberg has done the same. The 2007 murder rate in New York was below 500, about the same number as occurred in the much-smaller city of Philadelphia. My point was that when people are rightly fearful to go outside their homes, they essentially have no liberty. In that sense, Rudy, an advocate of gun laws, is one of America's greatest libertarians.
I'm a member of several Yahoo Groups, which is one of those cases of "sin in haste, repent at leisure. Too many members of at least one group seem to be driven mainly by hatred of others, usually starting with Senator Clinton and including perhaps 150 million other Americans.
One of the Yahoos sent out several e-mails blaming homosexuals for most (all?) of the world's ills. I sent him (and others) the following:'
Anti-gay screeds are un-American, un-Christian, and politically unwise. Other than that, I guess they're fine.
As we Republicans decide which people we don't want supporting us, starting of course with gays and lesbians (who don't get MRSA), Blacks, Hispanics, young people, and professional women (journalists, teachers, doctors, nurses, and lawyers), we soon find ourselves consisting of one group: angry white males who spend most of their time denouncing people who aren't like us.
There are some conservatives, thankfully small in number, who want to turn us into The Stupid Party. I pray that they don't succeed.
Any group, on Yahoo or elsewhere, should not be mainly a vehicle for people to demonstrate their mental disorders.